Here is actual footage of my 2017:
Whew. Where do I begin? I’ve worked on this blog post for three days pondering on how depressing and pessimistic I want it to be.
I shed a few tears writing the first draft, then closed my laptop. Then on day two, I returned only to fall asleep at the thought of recounting 365-days of horror. Here we are at day three. Before I even think of January 1, 2017, I have to start from the very beginning of the madness.
2016 was a phenomenal year. God showed me His divine favor changing the trajectory of my late-20’s. The year started off a bit rocky, but I was on a natural high from April to part of December. My friend Johnathan passed away unexpectedly and his death was a true-eye opener about the beauty of life, the true depth of human interactions, and why time is so precious. The loss of Johnathan was only the beginning of the bumpy road ahead. Three days before the New Year, I was demoted at a freelance gig which meant a huge pay cut and a threat to my survival. But, she persisted.
I put on my best smile and brought in 2017 with great hope, optimism, and all the positive vibes one could wish for.
This is my hope + optimism + positive vibes pose on December 31, 2016.
So young. So gorgeous. So unsuspecting of the pain that would ensue in the days to come following December 31, 2017. After I was demoted and played like “Boo Boo the Fool” that every black mama warned you about, I kept silently reaffirming that I’d seen the worst of times in 2010 and again in 2012, surely 2017 would not compare to the sufferings of the days behind me. 2017 comes in second as the worst year of my life. On social media, I referred to it as a trash year. And it was. I don’t have the energy or space to list the many times that the odds were indeed not in my favor in 2017. When Oprah calls me for my Super Soul Sunday interview, I will tell the world about the trauma I endured. Honestly, it’s a miracle that my friends don’t have PTSD from listening to my horror this year. My mama, three best friends, and the ancestors kept me from falling this year.
I went into 2017 saying, “Seven is the number of completion. Everything that you’ve been hoping and praying for will come to fruition this year.” And, I functioned on the principle, “Protect your peace.” I refused to let anyone or negative forces steal my joy. I went to a sermon in mid-January and a pastor looked me straight in the eye as he firmly said, “Satan doesn’t want your stuff. He wants your mind.”
That one sentence sealed my fate. Everything tried to get at me this year. EVERYTHING. Sickness, 23lb weight gain, death, finances, people, etc. Every time something bad happened, I went back to that sermon as a reminder that my apparent misfortune were the tricks of the enemy. Even my friends were like, “Damn homie. You are really going through it this year.”
On Memorial Day, I went to visit my best friend Shequilla, just to catch up. And as we sat on her porch, the tears began to fall. And I don’t think she realized how much I just needed a space to release the pain. She told me, “Satan is trying to get at you because there is something great in you. The enemy is coming at you for a reason. You know something good will come out of this. Tyler, don’t get defeated”
My spirit was so tired and I was just five months in. There were days when I didn’t leave my home and if I did, it was for no more than an hour. Let’s call a spade a spade…auntie was depressed. This year, I had to confront demons from my childhood and take a sharp look in the mirror.
“Nobody but you is responsible for your life. It doesn’t matter what your mama did, doesn’t matter what your daddy didn’t do, you are responsible for your life. And what is your life? Energy….You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others.” -Oprah
The universe met me with the energy that I unleashed. Resentment, uncertainty, clutter, and despair. A friend told me a few months ago that she thinks I am too hard on myself and maybe, at times, maybe she’s right, I am. When it’s all said and done, life isn’t a game and I consider it a privilege to be a black body in this world. Every moment, every stroke of luck, each of my wrongdoings are not to be ignored. I must acknowledge and release them.
In hindsight, the tragedies that occurred in my life in 2017 would have broken me had the chips fallen a moment sooner. What I endured at 29 would’ve ended me at 22. As much as I called 2017 trash, it was, but every fragment was necessary. I spent most of my adult life working and building comfortable conditions while resenting every bad moment from my past. I was resentful and pessimistic, hoping that the new titles and “things” that I acquired would be a band-aid for the hurt. The true test came in year 29. God sat me down in 2017. Everything came full circle. And I do mean everything. I had to prove that this decade had not gone in vain.
In a fourth-grade spelling assignment, I remember my teacher asking us to pull a word from the word bank that best describes our character. I chose the word, “perseverance.” Perseverance is defined as, “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Yes, that perfectly defines my character. Back then, and even now, I recognize that I have no choice but to live unbreakably. I’ve grown accustomed to the rattling of my foundation and picking up the pieces for the sake of change. 2017 forced changed and required my resilience.
This year strengthened me for what’s to come. I worked my ass off in all areas. Hell, I even gave my love life five minutes of attention. 2017 showed me that every level requires a better version of you. In order to unlock the magnitude that you possess, you are required to bury old ways of thinking and welcome mental innovation. And, you just might unravel in the process. That’s perfectly okay. Every step is necessary.
I spent a lot of time with my aunt this year, virtually watching her slip away. I thought she would get better. LiLi was the popping aunt, the young one (still old tho lol) and I thought she’d live forever. The last time she and I interacted, she lacked the strength to eat and could barely hold her head up to look at my face. As I fed her, I sat there cheering her on at the baby sips she took. And the tears began to fall. The woman who fed me every Sunday after church and yelled at me for getting dirty in my “good clothes” was slipping away. As I sat there faced with the inevitable, I thanked God for that demotion, praised Him for blocking a major opportunity, and gave a sigh of relief that my living situation didn’t work out across the country. Days later I was blessed on September 13, 2017, to hold my aunt’s hand and rub her head as she took her last breaths. A part of my soul died with her. The opportunities that I thought had passed me were working in my favor all along. Each one bought me extra time with her. If you ever see me interact with my nephews, you know I love them hard, shower them with great memories, and treat them like the kings that they are, and will lay the smackdown when they get out of line. That’s how my aunt treated me. I love them the way she loved me. She taught me how to be an aunt and second mother.
And I cannot forget, the man who adopted me as his granddaughter and imparted great wisdom into my heart. He departed in February. God, I hate 2017. Time to wrap this up.
2017 taught me:
- Only collaborate with people who have the same intensity and passion level as you.
- Messy attracts messy.
- Your childhood is not to be ignored. Mishaps and tragedies of your adolescence can be attributed to your triggers of today. Check them.
- Be mindful of where your time is spent. Distractions are often wrapped in a beautiful bow.
- Never apologize for how you feel. No one has the authority to dictate or diminish your feelings.
- You don’t have to entertain people that you do not like.
- Walk away from anyone, anything, or any job that doesn’t positively feed you.
- Speak life into your friends. While you’re struggling, they probably are too.
- Only God can restore. Surrender to Him.
- Make room for love.
For all of the bad, here’s a thread of the incredible things that did happen in 2017. God’s favor never left my side.
January 2017: My first TV credit. Progress. pic.twitter.com/PqY765x1ty
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) January 23, 2017
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) April 3, 2017
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) April 6, 2017
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) May 18, 2017
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) June 7, 2017
June 2017: My pilot script made the 2nd round for a Sundance Lab
October 2017: Today it was rejected. I count it all a blessing. Onward! pic.twitter.com/cg89qRHCXv
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) October 11, 2017
December 2017: A feature in @guardian about @meghanmarkle and Prince Harry’s royal engagement. Thank you to @holpuch for writing an impeccable piece. Women of color deserve love. We are worthy of a happy ending. I see you black and brown girls. I see you. pic.twitter.com/LWuXDLdqEn
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) December 2, 2017
I believe in love again. I believe in second chances. I believe in new beginnings. I believe in me. 2017 served as a transformation of mind, body, and spirit. I am renewed and redeemed. My support system is stronger than ever. So many people, primarily black women, uplifted me this year and invested in my talent. I made it.
In 2018, I’m living by the principle of, “Thy will be done.” I’m not in control of this thing, God is. I can only reach within, derive the strength of my ancestors, and truly lean on faith to navigate me. My goal is to live my best life ever in 2018, because, well, God is life.